Seed project for large CoffeeScript AngularJS projects
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Note - this project is deprecated, please use yeoman


A Seed project for large CoffeeScript AngularJS projects


  • I needed a seed project so that I could get a real AngularJS application up and running quickly, with all the fixin's
  • I wanted to share some conventions that have worked well for a large CoffeeScript AngularJS project

But I code in Javascript!

All of the conventions and lessons-learned demonstratred here can be applied to a Javascript-based project.


  • Pure CoffeeScript
  • Leverages bootstrap
  • Grunt-based build script that:
    • Starts a server and immediately deploys changes as you code
    • Allows for a clean seperation between the organization of your source code and that of your served files
    • A minified and concatenated distribution
  • Incorporates most major aspects of AngularJS
    • Modules, directives, views, services, controllers, filters, dependency injection, etc.
  • Demonstrates 3rd party library integration using a 'global' library wrapped in a module, in this case toastr).
  • Ability to customize the app for each environment (dev, qa, prod, etc.)
  • Opinionated conventions for:
    • naming Modules and Angular 'Items'
    • sharing services, directives, filters, etc across views

Building and Running

Initial setup

  1. Ensure that you have node, npm, grunt, and coffeescript installed and in your path
  2. Clone this repository
  3. Run npm install to pull down all build-time dependencies

Start server and watch for changes

The default grunt task will start the server and watch for changes. When changes are made the project is rebuilt, pushed to the server, and all unit tests are run through Testacular.

  • To run the default grunt task, run grunt
  • Point the browser to http://localhost:9876 to connect the Testacular server
  • Point another browser window to http://localhost:8000 to view the app

Build Output

When you run the default Grunt task, you will see this output in your project's directory. target/build/main is served by the webserver.

  main/              # all application files and code
    index.html       # your old friend index.html
      app.js         # all of your application's code, concatenated
      lib.js         # all 3rd party library code, concatenated
      app.css        # all of your application's css, concatenated
      lib.css        # all 3rd party library css, concatenated
    ...              # a directory per 'package', with all the static files (html, imgs, etc)
  test/              # all tests


All of these are demonstrated in the example code.

Directories & Files

  main/              # application root
    index.html       # good ol' index.html
    app/             # contains all application files     # handles routing, module wiring, and bootstrapping
      ...            # a directory per 'package'.  Described later
    lib/             # all 3rd party code
      ...            # a directory per 3rd party lib
  test/              # all test files and code
    config           # testacular configs
    lib              # test-time libraries
    ...              # directory per package, generally with a Spec file per package
  profile/           # environment-specific overrides.  See 'Profiles'
    prod             # overrides for prod env
    dev              # overrides for dev env, the default

Related files are grouped together. Best explained by example:

  • All files for the app's 'details view' will go into the detailsView directory. None of the files in this directory will be used outside of this view
  • 'Common' code that's shared between views are grouped under the 'common' directory

The structure you use for these groupings is up to you, but I've found that the 'xxxView' and 'common' structure works well.

Modules and 'Angular Items'

An 'Angular Item' is, for instance, a Vaule, Factory, Directive, Filter, Controller, etc. There's no good term for these things, unfortunately.

Because we're using dependency injection, we don't need to use any javascript namespacing. Everything in CoffeeScript is in an anonymous function and so never global, and everything we need we make sure is available in a module.

The key, then, becomes the naming convention we use for both our modules and the Angular Items.

  • We use one module per Angular Item. We don't group Items together (I don't see the benefit).
  • Module name matches the name and path of the file in which it's defined. So the module for the app's common Data service would be
  • Item name depends on the type of the item.
    • For values and factories, which are generally used to provide Controllers, Services, and wrappers around 3rd parties libs, the name of my Item is the exact same name as the module.
    • For directives and filters, we do not namespace. Because they have to be referenced in the DOM, short names are best for directives and filters. See the code for examples.

Having one module per Item makes wiring easy - We just list all of our modules in

Misc Conventions

  • Never use a global function for a controller, always a module
  • Always use the 'array' format for dependency injection to avoid minification issues


Under src/profiles is a directory per 'profile' (currently dev and prod, but add as many as you need). During the build, these directories are overlayed directly on top of the main code, overriding anything that may be there. By default the build will use the 'dev' profile.


The module is where most of the environment-specific aspects of your application will be defined. At the very least each environment must provide an instance of this module. The module is responsible for:

  • Defining the provider. This provider can optionally have an appConfig function, which is run in the config block of the application module. Since it is a provider it must have a $get function which defines how to instaniate the service.
  • Defining the service. This service will generally store any environment-specific data, and optionally an appRun function, which is run in the run block of the application module.

If you take a look at the prod module, you'll see that the provider simply instantiates the service, and the service provides the production URL.

The dev module, however, uses $httpBackend to act as a fake server. Since $httpBackend is set up in a run block, we put the setup code in the appRun function.

Having the ability to run custom code in the application module's config and run blocks as well as having an injectable service that abstracts away all environment specific aspects of your application gives you the option to set up your application's enviroments in whatever ways you need.

To run an enviroment specific build, add an profile flag to your command line as follows:

grunt --profile prod 

Everything Else

A distribution build minifies your js and css. Run grunt dist


Some of the ideas here are my own but many are built upon the work of others: